Splashing £16 million on relatively inexperienced Calum Chambers, who was struggling for game time at Southampton raised eyebrows, with Arsene Wenger admitting to taking a gamble when he whipped the checkbook out. After 52 competitive outings and three goals for Arsenal, asserting that the gamble has paid off is a no-brainer, given the fact that such transfer fee only secures the services of Mario Balotelli and the likes lately.
Initially touted to play second fiddle to then first choice right-back Mathieu Debuchy, the 21-year-old has now assumed the utility player avatar, operating as anchorman, fullback or centreback depending upon the injuries to first-string players.
Mediocre were his performances, and he, thus, continues to be a squad player, and similar in tune to most other Arsenal youngsters, he comes across as too good to play youth football, while also being unreliable to start games for the first-team.
With more than a decade of football left in him, whether he would match what was expected of him when he signed on the dotted lines remains an uncertainty.
The Arsenal manager revealed towards the tail end of last season that he had fancied a central role for the England international thanks to him being short of pace and agility that a modern fullback is characterized with. Besides, with Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin being the mainstays, little could he do to be identified as a first-choice holding midfielder, meaning he should wait for either Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny to succumb to the onslaught of senescence.
The celebrated centreback duo, despite being on the wrong side of thirty, seemingly have at least two more full seasons under their belts, but Gabriel Paulista and the former Southampton lad, by the looks of things, are their direct replacements.
However, by the time they call time on their careers, the Emirates Stadium club may have two more defenders in their ranks, rumbling with Calum Chambers for first-team opportunities.
Needs match starts and game time
Accordingly, now, he simply cannot afford to rock up at London Colney every week with the mere hope that he would start games, while actually missing out on valuable experience that his future competitors should be gaining in plethora.
Loan deals have proved to be far less fruitful than they used to be or different from what meets the eye as only Jon Toral has garnered considerable game time and plaudits amongst the Arsenal loanees, and finding the perfect suitors, who would aid in his development, will invigorate (not save) his career.
A proper loan spell
However, every Premier League club – bar Chelsea and Manchester United – seem to have ample central defenders and thus, ensuring that loan spell does not mimic that of Serge Gnabry or Isaac Hayden is also decisive.
What future beholds the Englishman is anyone’s guess.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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